PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida school district is considering allowing select school employees to carry guns.
According to WPTV, the School District of Palm Beach County is considering taking part in the Coach Arron Feis Guardian Program, which was named after a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School employee who was killed in the 2018 deadly mass school shooting in Parkland.
The program allows select school employees to carry guns on a school campus after they have gone through extensive training and screenings. The school district has opted out of the program since it started in 2018.
However, that may change after the issue came up during a meeting with the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation.
When asked about the topic, WPTV reported that Superintendent Mike Burke said the district is considering the Guardian program. The superintendent said Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz continues to strongly recommend that school districts participate in the program.
“This is not about handing out guns to teachers,” Burke told WPTV. “This is about finding a few, a handful of people who are credentialed enough. You have to be very skilled with a firearm to pass this training. And would it make sense to supplement our school police officers — not replace — but to have a few more people potentially on our larger campuses that would be able to help out in the event of an emergency?”
WPTV reported that the discussion was very preliminary and the issue has not gone to the school board yet.
Burke said that if the school district chooses to participate in the program, teachers would not be forced to carry guns. He told the news station that the program is meant for employees who possibly have a military or law enforcement background.
“What we’re looking to do is maybe put a few people through that training program that would appear to be well-credentialed with either a military or law enforcement background, and allow us to get a more in-depth, first-hand view of the training and see how that might play a part in our layers of security,” Burke said.